GAINESVILLE, Fla. - In a matchup of top-five teams, the fifth-ranked Duke women's tennis team was downed by second-ranked Florida, 5-0, Wednesday afternoon at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex. The loss was just Duke's second overall, and first in an away match this season.
The Gators got off to a fast start, clinching the doubles point with wins on courts two and three. Ranked 11th in the country as a doubles team, Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather got out to an early 4-0 lead in the No. 2 spot, but freshman Annie Mulholland and sophomore Hanna Mar rallied back to tie the match a five all. The Florida duo responded however, taking the final three games to claim an 8-5 victory for the first doubles win of the afternoon.
Junior Mary Clayton and senior Monica Gorny teamed up in the No. 3 spot, but could not overcome the 52nd ranked duo in the country of Alexandra Cercone and Olivia Janowicz, and dropped the match, 8-4.
In the No. 1 spot, freshman Beatrice Capra and sophomore Rachel Kahan, the 19th-ranked doubles unit in the nation, faced off with the third-ranked doubles team in the country, comprised of Allie Will and Sofie Oyen. Trailing 5-1, Capra and Kahan muscled their way back to a 6-6 tie, but could not complete the comeback as the Gators took the match, 8-6, and swept the doubles competition.
In singles action, Florida continued its dominant pace, as the 14th-ranked Embree defeated the 48th-ranked Mar, 6-0, 6-2, in the No. 2 spot. Caroline Hitimana followed for the Gators, defeating freshman and 68th-ranked Monica Turewicz, 6-1, 6-0, in the No. 6 spot. The loss was just Turewicz's second this season.
Florida continued to roll as No. 19 Mather upended No. 117 Goldfeld in the No. 3 spot to clinch the match for the Gators. The loss snapped Goldfeld's streak of nine straight wins. The 71st-ranked Clayton took on 39th-ranked Oyen in the No. 4 spot, but despite winning the first set, 6-2, Clayton could not pull off the upset as Oyen took the final two sets, 6-3 and 6-0, to extend Florida's lead to 5-0.
The most anticipated match of the day featured the top-ranked Will against No. 2 Capra at the No. 1 spot. Capra won the first set 6-4, but with a 5-4 lead and match point in her hand, a rain and lightning delay ceased the match's completion.
Kahan, ranked No. 102 and facing the 62nd-ranked Cercone in the No. 5 spot, lost the first set, 6-1, but countered with a 6-2 victory in the second set. The inclement weather halted the match with Kahan leading 4-2 in the third set.
The Blue Devils will return home for its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday, Mar. 17 at 12 p.m. against N.C State. The match will be played at the Ambler Tennis Stadium.